The Summit Street Dam in Warren will be demolished by "the end of the summer," according to Paul Makosky, Director of Warren's Engineering, Planning, and Building Department.

Demolition is on track after the city announced the dam would be demolished by the end of 2024 last year. 

The dam low-head dam was originally used to create water flow for grain mills, power generation, and create water retention areas. While those uses have mostly ceased, many of the structures have remained, causing high-turbulence areas in rivers that are difficult to escape.

In 2017, a 12-year-old Austintown girl almost drowned near the dam. In the spring of 2020, police and a bystander helped rescue a 41-year-old woman from the river when her canoe capsized near the dam.

That case ended up going to court after the woman, Lisa Zitello of Austintown, ended up in a coma following the incident. The case will have its final pre-trial hearing on May 9, before going to jury trial on May 20.

According to the American Society of Civil Engineers website, more than 1,400 fatalities have occurred at structures in rivers like low-head dams, which have caused more deaths in the last 20 years in the U.S. than any other kind of dam.

The OEPA/ Warren's Engineering Department project to remove the dam, which was originally approved in 2021, is expected to cost $3,225,500. Those funds will come from several outlets, primarily grant and loan funds focused on restoring water resources and controlling pollution.

The project scope will include property acquisition, engineering, and construction administration, sediment removal, dam removal, and riverbank restoration.

"We've been working through a design-build contract for the past two years on this," Makosky told 21 News during an engineering committee meeting on Monday. "Environmental work is being completed. They're going to mobilize into the community to begin some of the environmental work with the actual deconstruction in June."

$1,725,500 will come from the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency's Water Pollution Control Loan Fund and another $1.5 million from the State of Ohio. Eastgate Regional Council of Governments is assisting with the cost, a part of its regional initiative to remove dams along the Mahoning River. 

RiverReach Construction was chosen by the City of Warren to conduct the demolition project, with a bid of $3,001,519. Their plan was approved by EPA representatives and the city engineer.

Makosky told 21 News the dam is expected to be removed by the end of this summer with environmental work taking place throughout the fall months. 

The Engineering, Planning & Building Department also discussed ODOT/OPWC resurfacing projects of High Street from Mahoning to Chestnut, Main Avenue from South to Mahoning, and Mahoning Avenue from Main to Summit. The estimated cost of the project is sitting at $1.2 million.

Park Avenue from Fulton to the north corporate limit will also be resurfaced, with a price tag of $1.2 million.